Same-sex couple tax code law reaches governor’s desk

Lawsuit to overturn gay marriage ban filed

The Colorado Catholic Conference is urging supporters of traditional marriage to make another push to oppose a bill that will give same-sex couples tax rights.

Senate Bill 19 is headed to Gov. John Hickenlooper’s desk for signing after the Legislature quickly passed the contentious bill. If signed, the bill will change the terms “husband,” “wife” and “spouse” on tax forms to “two taxpayers” and will support a ruling that allows couples married out-of-state to file joint state returns.

Conference director Jenny Kraska said the bill should be vetoed by the governor because it doesn’t respect the constitutional definition of marriage.

“They’re slowly chipping away at marriage and they’re using the tax code to do it,” she told the Denver Catholic Register about supporters of the bill.

Shortly after the bill passed the House, nine same-sex couples filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage.

The governor and Denver City Clerk Debra Johnson are defendants named in the lawsuit filed Feb. 19.

The lawsuit is one of several filed across the nation to challenge homosexual marriage bans. Colorado permits civil unions between same-sex couples but the constitution bans homosexual marriage.

Hickenlooper said in a statement that “On the underlying question of equal rights, we believe Colorado made a step forward when we passed bipartisan civil unions legislation last year.”

Some advocacy groups, including One Colorado and the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado, expressed support for the lawsuits.

Lawmakers also spoke in support of the action, including House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, who voted for Senate Bill 19 and the civil unions law, calling it a step toward marriage equality.

Homosexual marriage advocates are also expected to put an initiative for same-sex marriage on the November 2016 ballot.

In a Feb. 14 interview on AM station 710 KNUS with host Dan Caplis, former U.S. attorney for Colorado Michael Norton said the entire process is an effort to undermine Colorado’s marriage amendment.

“I think the Democrats who control the Senate and the House as well as Governor Hickenlooper knows they cannot change the marriage amendment (and) know people won’t change the marriage amendment,” he said on the radio. “So they’re trying to set it up for the courts to do so.”

Other state’s challenges to homosexual marriage bans, including Utah and Oklahoma, are before the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver. The appeals court will review the federal courts’ decisions that voided the constitutional bans. It’s expected the lawsuits will culminate in a review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

In 2006, Colorado voters passed Amendment 43, which prohibits same-sex couples from getting married.

Marriage, the conference says, is the cornerstone of society and should be protected.

“It is not simply a religious issue, it is a matter of common sense and has a long tradition that pre-dates Christian faith,” the conference announced in an email. “Any attempt to redefine marriage should be challenged.”

 

Contact Gov. John Hickenlooper
Ask the governor to veto Senate Bill 19 and uphold the state constitution, which defines marriage between one man and one woman.
Phone: 303-866-2471
Email: www.colorado.gov/govhdir (Click on the share your opinion link)

COMING UP: Q&A: USCCB clarifies intent behind bishops’ Eucharist document

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Last week, the U.S. bishop concluded their annual Spring meeting, during which much about the Church in the U.S was discussed. In particular, the bishops voted to draft a document on the meaning of Eucharistic life in the Church, which was approved by an overwhelming majority.

Since then, speculation about the nature of the document has run rampant, the chief of which is that it was drafted specifically to instigate a policy aimed directly at Catholic politicians and public figures whose outward political expressions and policy enactment do not align with Church teaching.

The USCCB has issued a brief Q&A clarifying the intent of the document, and they have emphasized that “the question of whether or not to deny any individual or groups Holy Communion was not on the ballot.”

“The Eucharist is the source and summit of Christian life,” the USCCB said. “The importance of nurturing an ever
deeper understanding of the beauty and mystery of the Eucharist in our lives is not a new topic for the bishops. The document being drafted is not meant to be disciplinary in nature, nor is it targeted at any one individual or class of persons. It will include a section on the Church’s teaching on the responsibility of every Catholic, including bishops, to live in accordance with the truth, goodness and beauty of the Eucharist we celebrate.”

Below are a few commonly asked questions about last week’s meeting and the document on the Eucharist.

Why are the bishops doing this now?

For some time now, a major concern of the bishops has been the declining belief and understanding of the Eucharist among the Catholic faithful. This was a deep enough concern that the theme of the bishops’ strategic plan for 2021-2024 is Created Anew by the Body and Blood of Christ: Source of Our Healing and Hope. This important document on the Eucharist will serve as a foundation for the multi-year Eucharistic Revival Project, a major national effort to reignite Eucharistic faith in our country. It was clear from the intensity and passion expressed in the individual interventions made by the bishops during last week’s meeting that each bishop deeply loves the Eucharist.

Did the bishops vote to ban politicians from receiving Holy Communion?

No, this was not up for vote or debate. The bishops made no decision about barring anyone from receiving Holy Communion. Each Catholic — regardless of whether they hold public office or not — is called to continual conversion, and the U.S. bishops have repeatedly emphasized the obligation of all Catholics to support human life and dignity and other fundamental principles of Catholic moral and social teaching.

Are the bishops going to issue a national policy on withholding Communion from politicians?

No. There will be no national policy on withholding Communion from politicians. The intent is to present a clear understanding of the Church’s teachings to bring heightened awareness among the faithful of how the Eucharist can transform our lives and bring us closer to our creator and the life he wants for us.

Did the Vatican tell the bishops not to move forward on drafting the document?

No. The Holy See did encourage the bishops to engage in dialogue and broad consultation. Last week’s meeting was the first part of that process. It is important to note that collaboration and consultation among the bishops will be key in the drafting of this document.


Featured photo by Eric Mok on Unsplash